April 29, 2010

Jury Finds Springfield Man Guilty of Child Molestation

It took a Scotland County jury just 25 minutes to come back with guilty findings on all five felony counts of sexual misconduct against a Springfield man.

Robert L. Barnes, 48, was found guilty of four counts of class A felony statutory sodomy and one count of class B felony child molestation in the first degree stemming from his 2001 arrest in Scotland County.

The jury was seated on April 20 and heard testimony on both Tuesday and Wednesday in the case being prosecuted by Scotland County prosecuting attorney Kimberly Nicoli and Douglas Pribble of the Missouri State Attorney Generalís office.

Judge Gary Dial sent the jury to its deliberations at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday and the guilty verdicts were returned at 1:55 p.m.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for June 2 at 10:30 a.m.

The case was initially filed by Prosecuting Attorney Susan Henry in 2002 but was discontinued by an application of the attorney.

Charges then were filed in November 2003 by prosecuting attorney Kimberly Nicoli. Barnes was scheduled for arraignment in December of 2003 but did not appear. A warrant for failure to appear was issued, but Barnes had left the jurisdiction. He was finally taken into custody on the warrant in Springfield, MO, in August of 2008.

The defendantís pursuit of an attorney and subsequent change of attorneys further delayed the trial date until April 2010.

Barnes was certified by the court as a prior and persistent felony offender, meaning the jury will not hand down the sentence in the case. Instead the punishment will be handed down directly by the judge.

A Class A felony is punishable by up to 10 to 30 years or life in prison. Class B felony charges can carry a 5 to 15-year prison term.

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